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Homosexuality and Catholicism Bibliography:
Section XIII: Lesbian and Gay Catholic Novels, Short Stories and Plays

© Paul Halsall

Argis, Henri D', Sodome, (Paris, Piaget, 1888)

Argis, Henri D', Gomorrhe, (Paris, Charles, 1889)

Bell, Amy., Sodom and Gomorrah. (New York, 1971 20, Typescript, rev. and annotated in ms. Promptbook; includes light cues and stage directions. Produced at Dramatis Personae, N. Y. C., Oct. 1, 1971)

Benard, Robert, A Catholic Education, (New York: Laurel Leaf/Dell, 1982)

Young pious Catholic goes to seminary and falls in love with another student. What should he do?

Bloxam, John Francis, The Chameleon, (1894), partly reprinted as "The Priest and the Acolyte" in Brian Reade, ed., Sexual Heretics: Male Homosexuality in English Literature from 1850-1900, (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1970), 349-60

An extraordinary story of love between a homosexual priest and an acolyte which is discovered and ends with both dying in a suicide pact, the death being administered via an intinction of poison in a consecrated Chalice used at a final mass said together.

Bouldry, Brian, Genius of Desire, (New York: Ballantine, 1994)

Coming out story of a gay Catholic boy.

Burgess, Anthony, Earthly Powers

Begins with a scene in which "the archbishop is in bed with his catamite" and contiinues from there.

Carson, Michael, Brothers in Arms, (New York: Pantheon, 1988; now pub by Plume. British version called Sucking Sherbet Lemons)

Story of a Liverpool Catholic teenager with two desires - the Church and other men. Well written, both funny and poignant at times. First of a triology follwoing the same character.

Clarke, Peg, Potted Love, (Sydney: Crescent Press, 1980)

Story of a relationship between a nun and a senior student at an Australian boarding school

Cowell, Stephanie, Nicholas Cooke: Actor, Soldier, Physician, Priest, (1993)

Crown, Judston, The Search for Sebastian, (San Diego CA: Los Himbres Press, 1991)

A camp mix of transsexual pentecostal bishops, Latin mass Catholics and a travel narrative.

Disch, Thomas, The Priest: a Gothic Romance, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995)

The novel is not about homosexuality, but has as its central character a "rehabilitated" pedophile priest, who is subjected to various forms of blackmail.

Diderot, Denis, The Nun, (original La Religeuse, various editions)

Novel by a great Enlightenment thinker, with a sister who was a nun, depicts pathological lesbianism in a religious atmosphere. A deeply anti-Catholic novel.

Firbank, Ronald, Concerning the Eccentricities of Cardinal Pirelli, (in five novels) (New York: New Directions, 19??)

Fraser, Antonia, Quiet as a Nun: A Tale of Murder, (New York: Viking, 1977)

Much speculation about past and present "particular friendships"

Gide, Andre, Saul, (Paris: Editions de la Nouvelle Revue Francaise, 1922)

Based on the Biblical story. Gide considered it his great contribution to homosexual literature.

Glubka, Shirely, "Bless me Sister....", Conditions 9 (1983) 46-55

Short story by a lesbian ex-nun about her sexual relationship with another nun.

Godden, Rumer, In This House of Brede, (New York: Viking, 1969)

Novel about a middle aged women who enters a Benedictine convent. Includes a stoy of a particualr friendship between a professed sister and a novice. Made into a film with Diana Rigg.

Hernandex Cata, Alfonso, El Angel de Sodoma, (Madrid: Mundo Latino, 1928)

Hesse, Hermann, Narziss und Goldmund, Berlini: S. Fischer, 1931; various english translations)

Two medieval monks, with a homosexual undertheme. Considered one of Hesse's finest works.

Hulme, Kathryn, The Nun's Story, (Boston: Little, Brown. 1956)

Classic novel. Not explicitly lesbian but described intense same-sex relationships. later made into a film.

Johnson, Greg, Pagan Babies, (New York: Dutton, 1993; pb. New York: Plume, 1994)

Two Catholic 'outsiders,' one of them a straight women and the other a gay man. Catholicism pervades this book, which raises a number of issues about the nature of "meaning" in life. Johnson suggests that Catholicism may be oppressive, but a Catholic upbringing/schooling induces the sense that there is, or should be, meaning.

Kazantzakes, Nikos, Sodoma kai Gomora. English. Two plays, trans. Kimon Friar, (St. Paul, Minn. : North Central Pub. Co., 1982)

Lersch, Susan, Sisters, Stonewall Repertory Theater, New York City, 1983

Play about convent life, including lesbian freindship and sexual experience. Reviews by Theresa Mancus, Images 1:3 9 (December 1983)

Lodge, David, How Far Can You Go, (London: 1980)

Comic novel which follows a group of 1950s London Catholic students through the changes of the 1960s and 1970s. Has a fairly stereotypical gay character who becomes an Episcopalian because of liturgical reasons.

Macaulay, Rose, The Towers of Trebizond, (London: Collins, 1956)

The story of a trip to Turkey to convert Turkish Muslim women to High-Anglicanism so as to liberate them from the oppression of patriarchy. It is not always clear what the gender of the narrator is, or what the sexual sins involved are. The book is simply fabulous!

Marlowe, Jane R., "Hail Mary", in Focus; A Journal for Lesbians Nov-Dec 1979, 3-9

Story of a nun meeting her convent lover, now an ex-nun.

Maupin, Armistead, Tales of the City (series)

This series of six soap-operish novels is completely entrancing. Maupin is hostile to religion in general, but there is much here for the Catholic reader - Michael's fundamentalist parents, the sisters of perpetual indulgence, an entire plot set in San Francisco's Grace Cathedral - and a gay­ish Catholic television priest.

Michaels, Joanna, Nun in the Closet, (Norwich VT: New Victoria Publishers, 1994)

A lesbian detective story.

Montley, Patricia, Sister-Rites, 1983

Play about a reunion of a convent class with their novice mistress. Church pressure on one nun to give up her work in gay ministry creates a crisis.

Murdoch, Iris, The Bell, (London: Chatto & Windus, 1958)

The Bell is the story of an Anglican lay monastery, awash with issues of homosexuality and passion. Virtually all of Murdoch's novel's have strong non-stereotyped gay characters.

O'Brien, Edna, "Sister Imelda", The New Yorker, Nov 9 1981, 48-58

Intense relationship between a nun and high school senior through the student's eyes.

Ricardo, Jack, Death with Dignity, (Austin TX: Banned Books, 1991)
A murder mystery novel set in a Dignity chapter in south Florida!

Plante David, The Catholic, (New York: Atheneum, 1986, c.1985: now pub. by Plume)

Story of a very uneasy Catholic gay man, written in the "gay lyrical" style seen in authors like Andrew Holleran and Edmund White.

Rees, David, In the Tent, (Boston: Alyson, 1979)

Concerns a young gay man - who is also a strict Catholic - and his experiences in a fantasy adventure set during the English Civil War.

Renault, Mary, The Charioteer, (New York: Pantheon: 1959)

Story of a male love affair in World War II. Neither partner is Catholic, but one is a Quaker and issues familair to gay Catholics are raised by one of the best modern lesbian authors

Rodi, Robert, Closet Case, (New York: Dutton, 1993: pb Plume, 1994)

A very funny comic novel, not very concerned with gay Catholic issues, but the hero, Lionel, was raised Catholic and the collapse of his closet begins while he is in a gay go-go dancing bar during which a go-go dancer dressed as a priest is performing. The dancer entrances Lionel, bringing up memories of his youthful fantasies about priests.

Rolfe, Frederick (Baron Corvo), Hadrian VII, (London: Chatto & Windus, 1904: many later reissues)

Rolfe was a Roman Catholic convert who lived on a gondola in Venice seducing Italian men. He was also obsessed with the Church. This novel is a fantasy, written in the super-intellectual language of late Victorian educated English converts, in which the narrator - a layman - is elected pope, and what he does in that position.

Schmitt, Gladys, David the King, (repr. New York: Dial Press, 1973)

Lookst at David's love affairs with both Jonathan and Bathsheba.

Spark, Muriel, The Abbess of Crewe, (New York: Vikiing, 1974)

Novel about Watergate. Lesbian hints pp. 21, 33, 62

Vidal, Gore, Live From Golgotha: The Gospel According To Gore Vidal
Thanks to a breakthrough in computers, an NBC crew races into the past to capture live the crucifixion, guaranteed to boost ratings. Meanwhile a hacker is trying to destroy the tapes. One tape, that of St. Timothy is saved, and he struggles against dark forces to complete his gospel, including his travels with St. Paul, his date rape with Nero, followed by martyrdom, fire and the big show at Golgotha.

Warren, Patricia Nell, The Fancy Dancer, (1976; now pub. by Plume)

Story of a gay Catholic priest in Montana, and his love affair with a Native American.

Warren, Patricia Nell, The Beauty Queen, (197?)

Novel about a beauty queen who begins an anti-gay crusade based on her Christian religious convictions.. Could have some connection to Anita Bryant!

Waugh, Evelyn, Brideshead Revisted, (London: Chapman & Hall, 1945; now pub by Penguin)

Catholic aristocrat at 1930's Oxford University, and his relationship with a middle class Protestant who is eventually overtaken by grace! [TV series of the book also worth seeing.]

Weiner, Steve, Museum of Love, (?: Overlook Press, 1994)

Traces the story of a French-Canadian gay man from an intensely Catholic home - his mother is a mystic and his brother a saint.

West, Morris, The Devil's Advocate, (London: 19??)

The novel focuses on a priest with cancer who is sent to investigate a possible new saint's cult in Southern Italy. Homosexuality plays a large part in the plot, but West's attitude is condemnatory.

White, Antonia, Frost in May, (London: 1933; repub. London: Virago, 1978, also New York: Dial, 1980)

A work of art. Set in a Catholic girls school in the interwar years, it describes the resistence and overcoming of a student by the closed minds and crabbed attitudes thrust on her that nearly kill her soul. Four of the girls defy the rules and form loving "couples". [TV series made.]

Winterton, Jeannette, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1985)

The story of a young lesbian being brought up by an outrageously evangelical aunt in postwar Lancashire. Wonderful observant writing from one of the stars of modern British literature. [TV series almost as good as the book.]

Zubro, Mark R., The Only Good Priest, (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991)

From the back cover: "Father Sebastian, the only good priest everbody knows, is dead. Pastor of a parish outside Chicago, Father Sebastian was also involved in the gay community through his work with _Faith_, the gay Catholic organization the diocese is trying to drive out of the church. High school teacher Tom Mason, who has gained some local notoriety from his involvement in a couple of murder cases, is asked to look into the priest's death; was it murder? Along with his lover Scott Carpenter, a professional baseball player, Tom plunges into ecclesiastical intrigues, the hidden underground of gay Chicago, and the tragedies caused by a hypocritical church."


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© Site Concept and Design: Paul Halsall created 26 Jan 1996: latest revision 20 January 2021 [CV]